Shocker* on the Hill: NDP MP to Bloc! (*not a shocker)

Paul Wells on the defection of Claude Patry


Farewell then, Claude Patry, MP for Jonquière-Alma, freshly departed to the Bloc Québécois. (You’re gonna need a bigger phone booth for your caucus meetings, guys.) We hardly knew ye. No, no, strike that: We had no idea ye existed. Anyway, best of luck.

Two days after the 2011 election, I wrote this blog post, which now seems oddly prescient (although the full-on catastrophe it describes still resides in the future, or will never happen):

“…In its earliest days the Bloc was made up of people who’d abandoned other parties’ caucuses: Lucien Bouchard and five other Progressive Conservatives, and Jean Lapierre and another Liberal.

 “Only two days after Monday’s election, it’s already becoming obvious that the likeliest route to a revival of the Bloc Québécois is some kind of replay of those heady days in 1990. NDP Caucus Services will have its share of challenges over the next little while, but one item on its to-do list should be the preparation of a contingency plan for the bright morning when a dozen or 20 of its Quebec MPs decide Canadian federalism has failed some arbitrary test of its flexibility and it’s time to join the Bloc.”

One MP isn’t a dozen or 20. But the lasting danger for the NDP is the tension between the 57% of its caucus who come from Quebec and the 2/3 of its popular vote that came from outside. It’s possible to mitigate that tension. It’s impossible to eliminate it.

Click here for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s response to developments. 


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Shocker* on the Hill: NDP MP to Bloc! (*not a shocker)


    I haven’t a clue what the guy said in his news release. But couldn’t this be also construed by the NDP as vindicating their recent attempts to head the bloc off at the pass over the CA? As long as those other dozen or so dippers don’t decide to join him of course. A shaking of the tree to see where loyalties truly lie sort of thing. I wouldn’t see this as altogether a bad thing for dippers, unless everyone heads for the exit. Personally i do hope they head for the exits as i see the NDP programme in QC as essentially being one that is too close to appeasement for my liking.

    • actually, what it tells me is that i can’t trust that their MPs really care for the best interests of the country — by which i mean all of Canada. a PR disaster for the NDP no matter how you cut it. it didn’t help that their interim leader had memberships in two separatist parties, and the BQ leader said yesterday he knows of many other separatists in NDP ranks. watch for a slow bleed of MPs to the BQ. the orange crush will rapidly become crushed oranges.

    • Well, it shows why Mulcair had to TRY.

      His caucus would’ve fractured otherwise.

  2. notice : there will be know questions answered for the ndp in question period today, only talkings points from the harper goverment. thanks tom ! it is certainly a juicey
    day for the liberals though(tom flanagan and arthur porter,shipbuilding contract,and ei).

    • Thanks for reminding us that no matter what the headline or the topic of a post, the REAL issue is always the fact that Harper is evil and must be stopped.

      • Thanks for the tautology.

      • Drink!

      • let me be clear orsonbean,steve harper is the most expensive idiot PM in canadian history.theres a sayin,if you repeat things enough times,people just may start to belive you.if im not mistaken,this is a part of the cons doctorine(thank tom flanagan for that one).so i am just doing what your guy harper does to taxpayers everyday. it just may work ! PS: and yes harpers day is coming,it just may take a little longer.

  3. I reserve the right to be shocked (and appalled) if required by partisan talking points.

  4. One is reminded of those old fables involving snakes, scorpions and the like.

  5. Hopefully most Canadians who voted for the NDP in 2011 out of their affection for Jack Layton will begin to see what the NDP is really up to in Quebec and return to voting Liberal or Conservative in 2015.

  6. I’m actually suprised that it has taken this long for one of the NDP caucus to defect. Whether that is a function of good management by Mulcair, a lack of overt friction between Quebec and the rest of the country or simply that Don Cherry has been off the air for an extended period of time I don’t know. I would have expected this to happen earlier (maybe it would have if a quebecer had not won the leadership race.